All parts of the plant and especially the seeds contain many alkaloids, the most toxic of which are hyoscyamine, hyoscine (scopolamine) and atropine. The principle affect of these alkaloids is on the autonomic nervous system. The plant is generally not consumed by livestock except when other food in not available. Ths seeds may be eaten when mixed with grain. Corn contaminated with 0.5% Datura seeds will induce colic in horses.
Erect, branching, hairy, herbaceous annual(perennial in southwest States) often reaching heights of 3-4 feet. Leaves are large, alternate, simple with entire edges, and grayish in color. When crushed, the leaves have a strong, unpleasant odor. The showy, white, sometimes tinged with violet, fragrant flowers are carried singly in leaf axils. The large (7-10cm) flowers are funnel shaped with the flared end having 5 sections with tapering points. The characteristic fruit is a nodding, capsule covered with fine spines, which when ripe, splits open into 4 sections exposing the many light-brown, flattened seeds.
Datura inoxia (Indian apple) is very similar